• Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council

    Establishing Patient and Family Advisory Councils 

    The Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council is dedicated to assuring the delivery of the highest standards of comprehensive and compassionate health care by Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center. We work in active partnership with health care providers to:

    • Strengthen communication and collaboration among patients, families, caregivers, and staff
    • Promote patient and family advocacy and involvement
    • Propose and participate in oncology programs, services, and policies.


    In 1997, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's inpatient beds were moved to Brigham and Women's Hospital. Patients and family members, concerned about the changes, wanted to work with staff to protect quality of care and ensure patients' needs were the highest priority. The result was the creation of the Adult Patient and Family Council. Key hospital leaders and staff committed their institutions to patient- and family-centered care through the formation of the Council.

    Representing the voice of patients and families, the Council is fully recognized by the clinical and administrative staff, and Council members have seats on all major hospital committees.


    Since its inception in January 1998, the Patient and Family Advisory Council has:

    • Helped design treatment, program, and common areas throughout the Institute, including the award-winning Women's Cancers Program;
    • Participated in renovations to the radiation therapy unit at Brigham and Women's Hospital;
    • Launched a "Patients as Educators" program to share experiences and feelings about oncology patient/provider relationships with small groups of nurses and doctors;
    • Advocated for increased psychosocial support services;
    • Addressed patient parking policies;
    • Worked with Patient Accounting to create more patient-friendly billing letters;
    • Participated in planning for the Complementary Therapies Program;
    • Launched Side by Side, a quarterly newsletter for patients;
    • Served as a national model for patient-family participation in clinical-care services.

    How to get involved

    For more information about the Adult Council, including membership, please call 617-632-4319 or email pfac@dfci.harvard.edu.

    Active (voting) patient and family members serve up to three one-year terms. After three years, patient and family members are welcome to continue their involvement; however, they are no longer voting members. Emeritus members often remain as involved as they had been when they were active members.

    Five to six key administrative staff members serve as voting members of the Councils. Other staff leaders are invited guests and routinely attend meetings.

    Download Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council application  

    Find out more

    Learn more about Dana-Farber's approach to Establishing Patient- and Family-Centered Care

    Learn about the Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council 

  • Email
  • Print
  • Share
  • Text
Highlight Glossary Terms